My husband, Sean, and I are awful at dating. This isn’t a new thing that happened after Casper was born, it’s also not something we lament. We just tend to stay in and order take-out over going out. Recently, we did go out (and by recently I mean in October) and I had a toddy that I cannot stop thinking about! It was from Bithouse Saloon here in Portland and had hot cider, cachaca, lemon, maple, and this thick, dense layer of softly whipped cream that acted as a sort of lid you had to sip the toddy through. SO GOOD. Since we’re just the homebodiest of homebodies, especially as the temperatures dip, I knew I had to recreate something similar at home.
One of my favorite wintertime beverage tricks is steeping tea in hot cider; it’s so good! It satisfies my annual cravings for apple cider and my need to consume many mugs of tea. I used a boldly spiced tea, for that full cozy effect, and added a strip of orange zest for good measure. Instead of using cachaca, I obviously subbed in Maker’s Mark with excellent results. Of course, I could not leave off that dense layer of cream and I made it slightly more interesting by adding a few dashes of aromatic bitters to the mix. The result is a warming cocktail with notes of sweet apples, bitter orange, warming bourbon, and spices sipped through a rich cap of aromatic cream. It’s the drink you’ll want to cozy up next to the fire with and stay in for.
- 6 ounces apple cider
- 1-inch strip of orange peel
- 1 spiced tea bag (I used Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon)
- 1-ounce bourbon
- a few dashes of aromatic bitters
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- orange peel twist
- cinnamon sugar for the rim (optional)
- In a saucepan or measuring glass, heat the apple cider until hot (but not boiling). Fold the orange peel in half, to release the oils, and place in the hot apple cider, along with the tea and steep for about 4 minutes. While the tea steeps, place the cream and a dash or two of bitters into a jar and seal with a lid. Shake the jar until the cream has just thickened. Wet the edge of your mug and spread a few tablespoons of cinnamon sugar on a plate. Dip the rim of the mug into the cinnamon sugar. Stir the bourbon and a dash of bitters into the apple cider, pour into a mug and top with the whipped cream and orange twist.
- To make the twist, I coiled a small strip of orange zest around the tapered end of a chopstick and firmly held it in place for about a minute to hold the coil.